Archive for category Windows 7

Setting up the new machine


After going through the initial setup on the machine, which I configured the date time, wireless network password, and the home group password. There were a couple of steps which I believed needed doing, before going forward with installing the drivers for the various pieces of musical hardware, and installing the music software.

Windows Update

This one is something you may thing, just one run and things will be fine. My experience has shown that the first run gets a bunch of updates, but you need a couple more “check for updates” to completely exhaust the list of things which need to be updated. The joys of having consequential update dependencies (update A installs component Y which has another update B available).


I’ve the machine talking straight to my gigabit switch (chunk of Cat 5 cable comes in handy), as the built-in wireless networking card “Dell Wireless 1510 Wireless-N WLAN Mini-Card” goes too slow (See Blog post » Dell Wireless 1510 Wireless-N WLAN Mini-Card – Slow!). The windows configuration start up wizard goes through the basics of the networking up and running.

Networking and Backup

One of the big “bug bears” I have with Windows 7 is that Windows 7 Backup will only backup to a network attached device in the higher levels of Windows 7 (Professional or Ultimate) . My preference is to backup my machines to my NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices. So, I need to upgrade the version Windows.

Another grumble at Dell, I was not presented with the option of upgrading, or specifying, the version of Windows 7 installed on the machine.


After doing the following:

  1. Making sure the version of Windows 7 has all of the patches installed from Windows Update,
  2. Upgrading the version of Windows 7 to Ultimate (it was only $20 difference between professional and ultimate through Windows Anytime Update),
  3. Replacing the wireless network interface with on that works at a reasonable speed, and
  4. Taking a full backup image of the system, before I start installing anything music related on the system.

Finally, I’m ready to start installing the music software, and music device drivers, I want to run on the system. That will be tomorrow, I need some relaxation time this evening. The “ups and downs” of the installation process, will undoubtedly be another post (or two) to this blog.

One important thing to note before I start installing. I will be installing all of the device drivers first for the music instrument interfaces first, and then the music software (Guitar Pro 5 to start with). I really want to give the software the best chance of installing as smoothly as possible, and this approach should minimise the chances of “things going wrong”.

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External USB Disk Drives–Gotchas and Tools


I just received a new external disk drive from one of my online shopping exploits. It’s a cheap, USB 2.0 portable disk.

In setting it to use with my Netbook, I looked at the properties of the drive. I was surprised to see that it was formatted in FAT32. FAT32 was not something I expected to see, I was expecting to see NTFS.

So, for those reading this who do not know what the difference between FAT32 (File Allocation Table 32 – see Wikipedia -> File Allocation Table – 12/16/32 ) and NTFS (New Technology File System – see Wikipedia -> NTFS).

FAT32 and NTFS Differences

In summary:

Feature FAT32 NTFS
File Encryption No Yes
Folder Encryption No Yes
Compression No Yes
Security (ACL) No Yes

From the above list, there are benefits which NTFS offers.

The down side of NTFS are space, speed and portability:

  • Space. It costs more in raw disk space to install NTFS on a disk compared to FAT32.
  • Speed. You do get a speed hit because you have a more secure between the disk and the OS (Operating System). There is a performance hit (but not an excessive one, you already wear it on most machines which are running anything later than Windows XP accessing you C: drive – I think).
  • Portability. The disk will be only readable on a Windows machine (a very big generalisation – software may be available which circumvents the problems). So, if you want to read the disk on other than a Windows machine (NT, XP, Vista, Windows 7), you may need to stick with FAT32.


I decided that the first thing I was going to do to this drive was copy off the preinstalled software, and then reformat the drive to NTFS. I wanted the compressing option, and robustness (fault tolerance – another plus of NTFS) of NTFS.


SyncToy is a Microsoft free tool, which allows the replication of a folder structure from one location to another. This is really handy for my netbook. I have “stuff” which I want to keep an up-to-date copy of on the external drive, from my NAS storage.  SyncToy is a really simple tool which achieves this for me with a minimum of fuss.

The benefits of having NAS storage in a home network is that it no matter how many machines you have you have a large chunk of shared disk. My current NAS device is a LaCie d2 Network 2 and has been working perfectly since I plugged it into the network. The fact that it is an supports Gigabit Ethernet is another big point that this device has.

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